AUBURN — A Bates College study of landowners in the agricultural zone that became a point of contention in the city’s ongoing debate over the area will be presented to city officials Monday.

The survey, conducted by Bates College professor Francis Eanes, polled Auburn landowners’ plans for their land, what they value most about the zone and opinions on how the land, which accounts for roughly 40 percent of the city, should be used in the future.

Due to how the survey was rolled out, it received immediate criticism from Mayor Jason Levesque, who called into question the intent behind it at the same time city officials have been embroiled in a debate over proposed amendments to the zone. City officials asked Bates College administrators to suspend the survey, but the college pressed forward.

The study, titled “Auburn Landowner Perspectives on Housing, Working Landscapes, and the Future of the Ag Zone,” will finally reach the City Council during Monday’s meeting, despite a previous statement from Levesque that said the results would “not be used in any decision-making process by city staff, elected or appointed officials.”

In the weeks following, City Manager Peter Crichton suggested that officials should view the survey results, but left the decision up to each elected body.

According to Monday’s memo, Councilors Belinda Gerry and Holly Lasagna requested that a workshop on the survey results be held.

Eanes’ survey was sent to Auburn landowners in five waves, between July 2 and Aug. 18. Since then, Eanes has been analyzing the data.

According to a City Council memo, the survey garnered 315 landowner responses, a 41% response rate.

The City Council meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday in the Council Chamber at Auburn Hall.


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